17 June 2015, Abuja – Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, yesterday, attributed alleged corruption at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to what he termed “lack of operational budget,” saying the era of non-provision of budget for agencies of government to function was over.
He said such situation leads to “serious leakages,” especially in income generating agencies.
Speaking yesterday in his office when some civil society groups under the aegis of Civil Society Situation Room, led by Sir Clement Nwankwo, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja, the President of the Senate disclosed that the 1999 Constitution Amendment Bill, the 2011 Electoral Act Amendment Bill and the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which were either passed by the National Assembly or refused assent by former President, Goodluck Jonathan, would be given priority attention as soon as the Senate resumes from its current break.
Responding to the group’s request that the eighth National Assembly must revisit some people-oriented bills as soon as possible, Saraki noted that some of the bills were critical to the current reform project of the Federal Government and would soon be given accelerated attention.
He said: “You have raised a number of bills, one of which is the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which is key to deepening the electoral process.”
Senator Saraki said, “The budget process which you talked about, I want to tell you that some of us have strong views that issues of budget must be transparent, particularly; days are gone where agencies like the NNPC would be able to function without operational budget. We must move away from that because one of the key issues that we have now is the issue of revenue leakages because of lack of transparency. I think we must move away from that, especially agencies that have revenue coming in.”
President of the Senate, who urged the CSOs to be more proactive and constructive in their approach to issues, said: “I recognise the importance of civil society organisations in a nascent democracy. You have done creditably well so far.
“On our part as legislators, we will be open, transparent and accept to work together as a team in order to transform our abundant resources to the betterment of Nigeria and Nigerians.”
CSO commends Senate
Earlier, Convener of the group, Clem Nwankwo, while commending the successes recorded in the elections of the leadership of the Senate and that of the House of Representatives, said his group was in the legislature seek partnership in the governance process of the country.
He solicited the support and partnership of the National Assembly while highlighting areas of interest such as bills on people living with disability, electoral acts (as amended), PIB and the constitution amendment, which he prayed the Senate to ensure its effective implementation.
Nwankwo further promised to work with the National Assembly to evolve issue-based legislations, avoiding unnecessary bickering and confrontation to achieve a stable and conducive platform for the nation’s democracy to thrive.
In attendance during the courtesy call were the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, senators Andy Uba, Tijani Kaura, Aliyu Abdullahi, Rabiu Ibrahim and Mohammed Hassan.